When I arrived at the Ben Seretan/Oneohtrix Point Never show at Eclectic, it appeared through the windows that nobody was there. How strange, I thought: Oneohtrix is beloved by many ambient music fans at Wesleyan, as well as fans of Daniel Lopatin’s other well-known project, Ford and Lopatin, and Ben Seretan ’10 is an old friend to us, albeit an old friend who happens to be a very talented and prolific musician who was in beloved Wesleyan band Duchampion.
When I got through the door, though, the room was in fact almost full; everyone was sitting on the floor, legs folded, in contemplation of Seretan’s spare, guitar-and-vocals compositions. He has described his most recent solo album, New Space, as an attempt “to have the sensation of swimming in or being embraced by the sound of my guitar and voice, to feel its physical presence pushing up against my sides, the walls, and furniture.”
One song he played off of this album was “We Breathe New Air,” a meditative, airy track whose lyrics, in the spirit of an album called New Space, reflect upon things unseen: “There are big things in the distance/What’s the color of his front door?” He also played “Onion Boy” from his collaboration album with the Early, as well as some impressive covers: “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (which has been performed by both Leadbelly and Nirvana), and Liz Phair’s “Fuck and Run,” which someone, to his annoyance, called out before he started it. He relaxed, though, when he realized it was just Jesse Ross-Silverman ’13. Seretan’s entanglement with the current Wesleyan community remains evident. During the set he thanked Ally Bernstein ’13 for cooking him dinner, Dylan Bostick ’13 for loaning him his amp, and Zach for booking him/bringing him to Wes/picking him up at the train. He topped it all off with, “And thank you Wesleyan for the fabulous education!” Hopefully he will continue to feel connected even after we seniors graduate.
Here is a video of the aforementioned Liz Phair cover:
Daniel Lopatin also worked with a simultaneously spare and wide-ranging set of tools: a MIDI controller and a set of earwormy samples that span the recent history of popular music and television. Hiding behind his table of equipment, with only a single lamp to light his way (the “lasers and fog” that the show was originally meant to have, sadly, are not allowed), he looked stoned, and his eyes were both tired and hyperfocused. He fumbled a few times, accidentally flipping off his MIDI controller, but he also had many creative moments, improvising on new material with a touch of self-amusement. Many of the other tracks he performed were from his 2011 album Replica.
Here are some pictures I took at the show, supplemented by the work of Zach and Eric Lopez ’15.